Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday the 13th was good to me.

So, back in London for a week. Classes are over and I don’t need to be back on campus until the twenty-third, so I figured I’d come home for a little vacation. And to get comics.

Two things stood out in the whole experience today.

First, whoever decides the price for Marvel’s trades is an asshole. Saw the Civil War trade and thought I’d pick it up, but then I saw the cover price. $24.99 US and $40.00 Canadian. Insert my standard “someone needs to get those idiots a fucking currency converter!” rant. What also annoys me is the fact that it shouldn’t be $25 US either. I bought a copy of Alice in Sunderland, which looks to have more pages, bound in hardcover and not have the cushion of individual issues selling in the hundreds of thousands for only five bucks more. Seems about right.

(On a slight tangent: buying Talbot’s book is what prevented me from getting Civil War as I know the guy at my shop would have altered the Canadian price, so I would have paid maybe thirty bucks at the most. I love that guy. I mean, I paid $29.95 CANADIAN for Alice in Sunderland, which is the American price. Damn good guy that Tim.)

Second, they were sold out of every Ellis issue of Thunderbolts except for 113, which was released this week. The shitty thing? I only had 110-111, meaning no 112. I debated in the shop whether to bother with 113 and just wait for a trade, but got it anyway, who cares, I’d find 112 elsewhere.

And I did.

At the convenience store I stopped at on the way home for a slushy and some chips. They had one comic with their magazines and that was Thunderbolts #112 (three copies, I think). Take THAT, direct market!

Anyway, on to reviews . . .

Punisher War Journal #5-6

And so begins “Reign of the Captains America” . . . so far, we’ve got Hate Monger Captain America and Punisher Captain America. All we need is two more, months of them fighting with one another and then the return of the real one for Marvel to fully rip-off DC circa 1993. Although, I don’t think that’s what’s going on here, I kid because I love. I trust Fraction to do good things here. I also trust him to get rid of the whole Punisher versus SHIELD storyline soon, because, goddamn, I find it boring as hell.

Immortal Iron Fist #4

Holy fuck, Iron Fist is cool! Who saw that coming?

Civil War: The Confession

I’m actually amazed at how well Bendis pulled off the first story in this issue. For a man known for his dialogue, he writes a pretty good monologue here. But, the really interesting thing here is how the two stories work in dialogue with one another. And, there’s the obvious connection between “Was it worth it?” but there’s also everyone’s favourite topic of discussion: Iron Man is an asshole versus Iron Man isn’t an asshole.

What makes this issue work so well is that Bendis brings back Tony’s humanity in a way that hasn’t been seen since Civil War began (and probably before).


But, we’ve seen stories involving him that take place after this issue that show him in the same asshole light, so I’m left wondering what the point here was. It’s written well, drawn well and all of that; in and of itself, The Confession works. However, if you place it within the context of the Marvel universe as a whole, the first story doesn’t seem to work, in my mind. The second one fits in quite nicely, but the first . . . it just doesn’t fit. It should signal a shift, of sorts, but it doesn’t.

Goddamn, I wish I wasn’t in London and my copy of American Psycho was handy, because it has a quote that sums this up. I’ll paraphrase: “In the end, this confession has meant nothing.”

(And that’s when they all groaned.)

New Avengers #28-29

I found myself loving these issues far more than I expected. The time jumps, the dialogue, the action, the art, it’s all working here. Nothing much else to say.

Thunderbolts #112-113

I’m mixed about this book. I enjoy it, but it’s also so utterly unsubtle that I can barely stand it sometimes. Norman is crazy in an over-the-top way. Moonstone is manipulative in an over-the-top way. Also, not much happened. Still, I’m very pleased that I stumbled into #112.

Fell #8

The only thing that bothered me about this issue is the tension between photograph and objective narrative viewpoint. When is what we see a photograph taken by Fell and when is it just an objective viewpoint? The framing panels obviously are the usual objective narration viewpoint, but what about that middle panel on page six that shows Fell and other cops from an overhead position?

The fact that I’m picking on something this minor says something about the quality of this issue.

newuniversal #5

And the beat goes on. I have a feeling this series could turn out to be really great once the pieces all get laid out. Right now, though, it feels too much like tedious work on Ellis’ part. It’s still entertaining, but there’s too much process about it to be completely absorbing.

More tomorrow.